Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sevana Bagdasarian: Chorale

To the spirit of Dikranouhi and to all women who have
been forced to the ground on the banks of the Euphrates

There is death in this river
you can hear it sing.

The people dancing
or watching the great fish
swim in massive schools
cannot hear it.
They have not been made to listen.

I dance
and swim backwards
splashing water
on my face

for downstream
the women's bodies are found

naked and nameless
on the river's shore.

If I could
I would drain the death from this river.
I would shower it like rice
over a bride,
but today the mountain hands
disfigured and defaced
as if saying
it to has had enough.

My hand molts wet silt
touch homeland touch earth
They say if you are lost
touch earth.
If the duduk's wind changes direction
or if you forget to swim
touch earth.

Her obsidian hair reaches
becoming tributaries
she won't know which to choose.

I close my eyes to push
back her memory
but there is no stopping it.
No force to mind
no threat of retaliation.

Only the song
of the big dipper breaking
into a million-and-a-half pieces
falling, scattering
and the sound
that only those who have heard
a star's dancing fall
can hear.

Copyright Sevana Bagdasarian. This poem has appeared in Aspora, volume 1, No 2, Spring 1994.

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